I am part of the Exhausted Majority

I am part of the Exhausted Majority October 16, 2018

I think I finally found myself. My attention was brought to a study called “Hidden Tribes.” The researchers used a combination of a national survey and interviews to identify seven distinctive political groups in the United States. The attitudes of individuals in those groups help to explain the tremendous polarization in our society.

On the far left is the Progressive Activists. They make up about 8 percent of our country. They are not only very progressive but they are also quite wealthy, well educated, secular and cosmopolitan. They check all the boxes for progressive causes as it concerns racial, gender and sexual inequality issues. They also were described as angry. They were the only group that did not tend to think that political correctness was a problem.

On the far right were two groups – Traditional Conservatives and Devoted Conservatives. They make up 25 percent of our country. As well as being politically conservative, they tend to be white, patriotic and religious. They stand out from the other groups on issues of immigration and American identity.

Progressive Activists are opposed to those two conservative groups on most political issues. But what they do have in common with them is less of a willingness to compromise on political issues than the other four groups. Those other four groups make up what the author of this work call, the “Exhausted Majority.” I am part of that Exhausted Majority.

This majority makes up about 67 percent of the country. (I would consider myself part of the Moderate group which is 15 percent of the country). Of course there is a lot of ideological diversity among such a large section of the population. But what we do have in common is that we are more ideologically flexible, more willing to find compromise for solutions, feel forgotten by our political culture, and are tired of the political fighting in our country. Those are qualities that define where I am right now.

For example, I am a race scholar. Clearly most race scholars are progressive activists. They tend to promote solutions such as anti-racism and multiculturalism. I understand those solutions and there are important aspects of such arguments that we must use to deal with our racialized society. On the other hand, there are those who promote some degree of colorblindness as the solution to our racial strife. So when we turn on the television news shows, what do we see? We see a race scholar arguing for an antiracism program pitted against a conservative arguing for colorblindness. And everyone thinks that these are the only two alternatives out there. And so our political culture, on racial issues, as well as most likely other issues as well, is dominated by leftists trying to defeat conservatives and vice versa. Both groups, with a “winner take all” mentality, hope to implement their solutions without input from their detractors from the other side of the political spectrum.

But are these the only solutions possible? This is where my perspective as being one of the exhausted majority can kick in. I think a third path is one tied to active listening. I have focused on promoting active listening to build consensus in the direction we should go on racial issues. It is my belief that unless we find solutions that a significant percentage of individuals can accept, then any program promoted now to deal with racial alienation will eventually be undermined by those who disagree with that solution. That is why I believe that the current winner take all approach from both the left and the right will not lead to lasting peace. Forcing people to accept solutions they do not want just creates more division, even if the programs themselves are good ideas.

Of course we will never find a solution that everyone agrees with. But if we all get a chance to have a say in creating a lasting solution to our racial alienation, then we will have buy in from distinct corners of our society. If we lose the winner take all mentality, we could eventually come up with a compromise that has both conservatives and progressives working together to sell that solution. In my vision we would have some people of color convincing other people of color to support the compromised solution and some white conservatives convincing other white conservatives to support that same solution.

So how many times have you heard someone talk about race in that way instead of a BLM approach or a “let’s just ignore race” mentality on a news program? Would this not be better than having news shows with angry people of color debating equally angry white conservatives? Those of us in the exhausted majority want to see real solutions being worked out rather than see which side has the better talking points. I think I switch back and forth between conservative shows on Fox and progressive shows on MSNBC and CNN in part because I hope to eventually see someone offer this common sense approach. I am constantly disappointed.

My solution of active listening is a solution that would attract many in the exhausted middle. Those of us in that middle are not monolithic, and though I certainly cannot speak for all of us, I do wish that we were included more in the discussions of our political issues in order to try to move towards compromises and real solutions. Many in the exhausted middle would share with me the disappointment I have in all of the fighting that seems to dominate our political discourse. The greatest disappointment may be that we do not seem to get anywhere with all of this fighting except to increase the acrimony in our society.

I have advocated active listening as a way to deal with the racial divide in our society. I have also thought about it as a way to deal with the political polarization that plagues us as well. Perhaps if more of us demanded such solutions out of political leaders, then we might be able to move the political dialog in a healthier direction. But, one of the features of some of the exhausted majority is a disengagement from our political system. Those of us in the exhausted majority are not as active in the political sphere as those on the right and the left (which is another way those at the extreme are similar to each other). And the political actions of those with extreme political values provide them with an outsized impact on our political system.

I think being someone willing to look for compromises is one of the reasons why my conservative friends see me as liberal and my liberal friends see me as conservative. I have tried to talk to individuals across not only our racial divide but also across our political one. Yet, the political divide has become more difficult to navigate over the past few years. It does not have to be that way. We can see those who disagree with us as our fellow humans who think differently than us instead of enemies who have to be defeated. I think this is how those of us in the exhausted majority tend to see those who have different political ideals than our own. Perhaps this is something we can offer to those on both sides of the political spectrum.

Finally let me deal with an argument I saw when I shared the article on facebook. Some of my progressive friends and contacts commented on the fact that political correctness was not defined in the study. For them, they defined it as treating people with respect. The implication of their argument is that it is a term that has been stigmatized by conservatives, and as such it was unfair that the progressive activists stood apart from everyone else in support of political correctness. If the rest of us understood what the concept really meant, then we would be supportive of this idea as well.

I consider such a response even more evidence that we need to do a better communication job with each other. My progressive activist friends and contacts clearly have a different understanding of what political correctness means for other individuals. For many people, myself included, we are concerned about a new puritanical rule by cultural elites who sanction those who do not use the proper term or say the wrong joke at the wrong time. We are troubled by the free speech implications of what has been set forth by much of the activism in the name of social justice. Listening to the detractors of political correctness can provide these political activists insight into some of the real problems they have expressing their desires for our society in ways that turn people away from then rather than inspire others to join them in their causes.

If those on either side of the political fight want to reach those of us in the exhausted middle, then they are going to have to learn how to communicate with us in meaningful ways. This means listening to our concerns and trying to address them in ways that still ring true with the values on the left or the right. The group that can better accomplish that task will be in the best position to win the support of those in the exhausted majority. I fear that neither side is really concerned with our fatigue at this political fighting, and the exhausted middle will be ignored for the foreseeable future.

 

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  • The Antagonizer

    Hidden tribes???
    The OP is so earth-shatteringly ignorant it is not even funny.
    Let me tell you about hidden tribes. Read an excerpt from my poem. Do not laugh. And I hope you wake the hell up.

    Lying or ignorant or dangerously cuckoo
    And victims of toxic Talmudic voodoo
    Struck with a Eurocide-inducing ideology
    Crippled with madness by alien psychology

    The anti-White Whites and their unknown masters
    The used and the users have brought us disaster
    It’s heaven’s providers, helpers and makers
    Versus hell’s dividers, butchers and takers

    Since exiled from Judah the ‘Wandering Who’
    Have time and again been given the shoo
    The handlers, the scripters, the pullers of strings
    The invisible power that makes or breaks kings

    Less than half a percent of the world population
    How on God’s earth did they gain domination?
    Eugenically-minded they’ve Olympian IQ’s
    They’re craftsmen of chaos and lingtwistic kungfu

    Sly and self-deceptive, they’re artful on defence
    Guarded and aggressive, they’re manically intense
    Beyond beyond delusional, “We’re the Chosenites!”
    Self-chosen to enslave the goyim… sadistic Slaughterites!

    Inbred cohesion and utmost religiosity
    Have almost invincified this global monstrosity
    No nation’s immune from their subtle infestration
    They’re parasitic deliverer’s of doom and damnation!

    Survival includes controlled miscegenation
    To act as a buffer and aid ‘assimilation’
    Even tight-knit China has a two-faced Mr. Chew
    “Ha-ha! I may look Chinese. But if you only knew…”

    To help blend in some localise their names
    Abram became an Adams and Josef chose Sir James
    With closed social networks and shadowy identity
    Their power evolves with unseen lethality

    Some look like me and some look like you
    Their insider slogan, “Is it good for the J_w?”
    When they transgress it’s a gentile’s white face
    When they’re oppressed then whoops, they’re a race!

    Who rules over you? Who can’t you criticise?
    Expose the elephants and be demonised
    Some J_ws, not all J_ws are a yoke-the-goy force
    Their race is their nation, and Israel, of course

    Running the banks is Yewzahree Goldmein
    Lobbying for wars is Belacose Bombswein
    Ponziman, Zionsky and old Swindler Scheissberg
    Are all just the tip of the gentile-proof viceberg

    Added extras…

    Collectively blame Jewish people = Anti-semitism.
    Collectively blame Black people = Racism.
    Collectively blame White people = Activism

    Upshot?

    Capitalism and Communism, Republicans and Democrats: two sides of the same shekel.
    There is only ONE kind of Socialism that can stop Western rot: NATIONAL.

  • swbarnes2

    But are these the only solutions possible?

    Of course not, and you know that. I’m not sure why you decided to pretend that the “very fine people” who scream “our blood, our soil” don’t exist for this purpose. That’s a mainstream political position in the US, supported by mainstream politicians.

    I think a third path is one tied to active listening.

    You mean I should be actively listening to someone who think I’m a pussy, not a person?

    You want to teach your daughters and sisters and mother that they are garbage by insisting that that’s an opinion that have to respect, go right on ahead, but I certainly won’t go along.

    It is my belief that unless we find solutions that a significant percentage of individuals can accept, then any program promoted now to deal with racial alienation will eventually be undermined by those who disagree with that solution.

    Since this is your field, I’m sure you can come up with tons of examples of all the compromises that the “segregation now, segregation forever” wing of the country willingly accepted, which they dutifully refrained from undermining afterwards.

    I’m sure you can flood the board with examples.

    we are concerned about a new puritanical rule by cultural elites who sanction those who do not use the proper term or say the wrong joke at the wrong time.</blockquote

    Please do tell when the right time to make a rape joke is. I'm sure you can be perfectly specific.

    It must really gall you that you can't exercise your right to tell well-timed Holocaust jokes. Some people just don’t get nuance, and the whole world is missing out on wonderful comedy because of it.

    • georgeyancey

      So the people who disagree with you are either Nazi or KKK. Those are the only other paths you see except your own huh? If you truly believe that then you need active listening more than you know. Unfortunately I do not think you are open minded enough to actually see that.

      • I do not believe that swbarnes said that you were either Nazi or a KKK member.

        • georgeyancey

          Come on dude. Just about every comment he made referred to Nazism or white supremacy. Be realistic about what he is saying. No he is not saying I am a Nazi or KKK but we should not talk to those he disagrees with because that is what they are. I actually feel a little sorry for people like him and Donalbain. The sort of mental contortions they have to do convince themselves that only racist oppose them must be mind numbing.

          • “The sort of mental contortions they have to do convince themselves that only racist oppose them must be mind numbing.”

            I do not think this is true.

          • georgeyancey

            It appears that you are wrong. Apparently Swbarnes2 does think that I support white supremacy. Look at his last comment to me. Like I said, the mental distortions needed to think that everyone who disagees with oneself must be a racist has to be wearisome. I truly do feel sorry for the likes of people like him and would feel even more pity except that it is this type of nuttiness that is ruining our society.

          • “It appears that you are wrong.”

            Supporting white supremacy does not mean, specifically, that you are a Nazi or a KKK. While Nazis and KKKs are white supremacists, lending aid to them does not make you a Nazi or KKK, specifically, though it would make you nearly as bad.

            “Like I said, the mental distortions needed to think that everyone who disagees with oneself must be a racist has to be wearisome.”

            It appears to me that swbarnes is concerned with yourself, specifically, and not “everybody who disagrees with them”. But it appears that you do wish to project such a stereotype onto them.

          • georgeyancey

            “Supporting white supremacy does not mean, specifically, that you are a Nazi or a KKK. ”
            If you think I am supporting white supremacy then you are as off base as Swbarnes2. Nothing in my blog supports racism. I suggest you both take a look at my picture to see how wrong you are. And if you look at Swbarnes2 first comment clearly it implies that those who oppose him or her are racists and not just me. I think I will leave this conversation since it seems that we are at the absurb point where a black man is accused of supporting white supremacy.

          • “If you think I am supporting white supremacy then you are as off base as Swbarnes2.”
            You seem to have quite the imagination to see enemies where it suits you.

            “And if you look at Swbarnes2 first comment clearly it implies that those who oppose him or her are racists and not just me.”
            I don’t believe that it is all that clear.

            “I think I will leave this conversation since it seems that we are at the absurb point where a black man is accused of supporting white supremacy.”

            Black folks supporting white supremacy aren’t as rare as you believe.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internalized_oppression
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TE3WYUVj4U

          • swbarnes2

            Just confirm for us that you believe, like your president does, that very fine people just like yourself are happy to walk along side people screaming “our blood, our soil”.

            Just be honest.

      • Donalbain

        One of the political parties of the USA is led by a man who has called Nazis who murdered a woman “fine people”. The other is not. But yeah.. both sides.

  • Yo Ho

    I guess this will help keep you from being mistaken for George Yancy.